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A few observations from our expedition

· The 2500 miles out was a lot more interesting than the 2500 miles back.

· National Parks are called National Parks for a really good reason. Each is spectacular in its own way. However, eight Parks in a single trip is overwhelming.

· If you plan to visit the western Parks in the near future, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up a smattering of German or Mandarin.

· Geography defines us. If you lived in an area with virtually no rainfall, where fire could consume you at a moment’s notice and your nearest neighbor was five miles away, you’d have different hot button issues. Likewise, if you lived a half hour from our Southern border, you might not have an open and understanding view of uncontrolled immigration.

· Santa Fe is to New Mexico as Provincetown is to Cape Cod. But it’s a great place to visit.

· The Permian Basin in western Texas, one of the richest oilfields in the world, smells like a gas station due to the uncontrolled emissions from the natural gas that seeps out of the oil wells. Note that the temperature as we drove through on our return was 103 degrees. In May. Not linking the two but…

· And then there are these massive mountains of NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material) that lie by the highways—byproducts of oil well digging. Talk about glow in the dark.

· Abilene’s past as a cow town is likely over but the Beehive Restaurant serves the best steak ever.

· The US really screwed the Indians. We plopped them down on arid lots of Arizona’s most dismal land and expected them to raise cattle and crops without water or fertile soil. No wonder they went into the casino business.

· Utah has some magnificent scenery if you can keep your eyes open during the death-defying drive.

· This country desperately needed the infrastructure plan. I give you Shreveport on I-20 and southern Louisiana on I-10 as evidence. There’s nothing like two foot high crumbling cement guardrails on a one hundred foot high shoulderless bridge to send you back to church on Sundays.

· Louisiana probably has some wonderful towns but the path from Shreveport to Slidell is littered with poor towns pockmarked with roadside casinos pasted onto every gas station.

· If you want to know how the people outside the cities in the South and Southwest live, take a stroll through a Family Dollar store.

· Florida should lop off the Panhandle from Pensacola to Lake City and give it to Alabama. Of course, that would mean ceding Tallahassee as well. And even better, we’d lose Matt Gaetz. Wins all around.

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